Tag Archive | rants

It’s Not Your Fault

We need to chat. About capitalism, ecologic destruction, white supremacy, racism, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia. We need to discuss something important in relationship to all of those nasty things. And that important thing is this – it is not your fault that you were born into a world that is structured around all those things.

Don’t blame yourself that you have to find a way to live among all those things. It’s not your fault. You have to live so do the best you can in a screwed up world. That’s not your fault.

However, what is your fault is your response to those things. You didn’t create any of those things. You may have benefited from some or even all of them, even if you’d rather not have benefited from them. (That’s what privilege is – you didn’t ask for it, maybe didn’t even want it, but you got it anyway.) It’s not your fault if you possess some kinds of privilege, but your response to that possession is your fault.

You can only control you. You can’t make the world behave differently. You can’t make other people be good, nice, kind, or responsible.

So you’re white and you have white privilege (yes you do, even if you’re homeless and receiving government aid) – what do you do? You use your privilege to tear down the system that gave you that privilege.

You’re cisgender? Tear down transphobia. You’re straight? Tear down homophobia. You’re male? Tear down sexism and objectification of women, and ridicule of gender non-conforming people.

In short, it is your fault if you don’t take a stand. Nobody is saying you’re responsible for slavery. Nobody is blaming you. But you did benefit from slavery if you’re white, even if nobody in your family owned slaves. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you just going to sit there and take advantage of a system that exploited others to lift whites above other people? Or are you going to fight to level that system so that someday the color of our skin doesn’t determine our innate worth?

So, it’s not your fault, white person. It’s not your fault, straight person. It’s not your fault, cisgender person.

But what is your responsibility is how you react to all of that. And that is what marginalized people are calling out when they call you out.

Own your responsibilities. Try to be a better human being. Own your privileges then use those privileges to fight for justice for all. Because if you do not, and you just passively allow oppression to continue, well that, my friend, is entirely your fault.

It’s Not Really About Bathrooms

In November 2015, many of us in Houston, Texas, feared that we would lose on the recall vote about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. We did, and we lost massively.

During that campaign, the primary weapon of the religious right was the bathroom predator myth. They had TV ads and everything and blasted that myth across the airwaves. It was not until 2 days before the elections that any local media even began to refute those lies.

As a consequence, we lost that vote bigtime by 61% to repeal the ordinance versus 39% to retain it.

When we lost that vote, within a few days, I made the prediction that the GOP would take the bathroom predator myth nationwide. Why? Because it both helps defeat trans rights and in doing so, it drives ignorant Republican voters to the polls. The bathroom predator myth is, therefore, just a tool to turn out ignorant white straight fundamentalist voters.

This means they are scapegoating trans people as a means to grasp at political power. This was never about women’s safety or bathrooms. This was always about the GOP finding a divisive fear generating wedge issue and then hammering that wedge issue with a sledge hammer til it fractures other coalitions and drives voters into Republican arms.

Republicans see this as a win, because it lets them back down (a little, not all the way) on racism as a fear tactic and instead scapegoat a much smaller population that is unable to defend itself. I’ve even seen Republicans make overtures to black churches about how “bad” trans rights are.

If the SCOTUS ever does rule on this and supports trans civil rights, like the Gavin Grimm case returns to the SCOTUS, you can count on right wingers making “rollback trans rights” into another Supreme Court nominee litmus test just like “rollback abortion rights” is right now.

They will argue they need to pack the court with anti-trans judges to stop this “horror” and “danger” to society. And transgender people will be scapegoated and actively harmed solely to support Republican fear mongering. Trans people will die just so Republicans can use fear mongering to gain political power. And that, my friends, is the real evil here.

America, It’s Time To Have A Chat

The monster you elected is a fascist. You keep claiming that we don’t know what that word means yet almost none of you have bothered to read Mussolini’s own words on the topic.

But let’s go further. Here is how a professional historian, Umberto Eco, who studied Mussolini and Hitler both extensively, described the key traits of fascism back in 1995. (Mr. Eco passed away not so long ago. We are indebted to him for putting this list together.)

  1. The cult of tradition. “One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements.”
  2. The rejection of modernism. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
  3. The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
  4. Disagreement is treason. “The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.”
  5. Fear of difference. “The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
  6. Appeal to social frustration. “One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
  7. The obsession with a plot. “The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.”
  8. The enemy is both strong and weak. “By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
  9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.”
  10. Contempt for the weak. “Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”
  11. Everybody is educated to become a hero. “In Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.”
  12. Machismo and weaponry. “Machismo implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
  13. Selective populism. “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
  14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. “All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”

There is another list of 14 points created by Dr. Lawrence Britt. Many of his points match or overlap Mr. Eco’s work as well.

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
  5. Rampant sexism
  6. A controlled mass media
  7. Obsession with national security
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
  9. Power of corporations protected
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
  14. Fraudulent elections

Both of these lists match to a high degree with the administration of Donald Trump. When you add in Trump’s obvious Narcissistic Personality Disorder, his inability to distinguish reality from fantasy, his obsessions with his popularity, you gain a clear picture that Trump is a mentally unstable man with fascist tendencies.

Donald Trump is a fascist. Let’s say that again – Donald Trump is a fascist. 

I did not vote for this sad loser. You did. And in Trump’s own words, that makes you “sad”, “weak”.

I did not create what follows here but what it says is true. The only question now is how much longer will you let yourself be conned?

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to be in Wall Street’s pocket. Trump wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and eliminate the Fiduciary Rule, letting Wall Street return to its pre-2008 ways.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s emails. The Trump administration is running its own private email server.

You voted for Trump because you thought the Clinton Foundation was “pay for play.” Trump has refused to wall off his businesses from his administration, and personally profits from payments from foreign governments.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s role in Benghazi. Trump ordered the Yemen raid without adequate intel, and tweeted about “FAKE NEWS” while Americans died as a result of his carelessness.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t care about “the little guy.” Trump’s cabinet is full of billionaires, and he took away your health insurance so he could give them a multi-million-dollar tax break.

You voted for Trump because he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it. American consumers will pay for the wall via import tariffs.

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to get us into a war. Trump has provoked our enemies, alienated our allies, and given ISIS a decade’s worth of recruiting material.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t have the stamina to do the job. Trump hung up on the Australian Prime Minister during a 5pm phone call because “it was at the end of a long day and he was tired and fatigue was setting in.”

You voted for Trump because foreign leaders wouldn’t “respect” Clinton. Foreign leaders, both friendly and hostile, are openly mocking Trump.

You voted for Trump because Clinton lies and “he tells it like it is.” Trump and his administration lie with a regularity and brazenness that can only be described as shocking.

Let’s be honest about what really happened.

The reality is that you voted for Trump because you got conned. Trump is a grifter and the American people were the mark. Now that you know the score, quit insisting the con-man is on your side.

It’s time to wake up, America, before you drown in your own self-induced nightmare.

 

Happy New Year?

It’s now 2017, and we get to soon face what a United States run by a sympathizer to Vladimir Putin will look like. And it’s not looking good.

I’m not going to comment on the national politics here though. You can read about that elsewhere. Just remember that Trump always lies, even when the declassified report is released the same day proving that he’s lying. Remember that – if Trump said it, it is almost certainly a lie.

For myself, progress on prepping this house to sell is moving along nicely. I have some goals set and hope to see those through if oil and gas prices stay where they are now or rise a bit more. Once the house is prepared, it will go on the market, likely first half of 2018, and once sold, I can finalize this divorce and get on with the rest of my life.

Not that I believe in numerology, but there was/s  a “reading” that included three 69’s. That number supposedly means to “let go of the old”, and that an old cycle is ending this year and a new cycle is beginning. I’d like to believe that is true. I also got three 490’s, which is unusual (three of anything is unusual but hey, let’s play along here). That number supposedly denotes a new path in life, one that is fully supported. So, like I said, I don’t believe in numerology, but those numbers are fun and interesting and I would not at all be upset if that were the outcome for me this year.

I’ve healed well from FFS and GCS in 2015. It’s now 18 months post-GCS and I feel great and am very happy with my choice. Likewise, it is now 20 months since FFS, and I am glad that I did that too. I can see why Dr. Cardenas said that, at my age, after I fully heal, I might want to consider a face lift. The chin and jaw contouring did leave a bit of excess skin that could be taken back. I may do that eventually. May. But first onward with this house, the divorce, and establishing myself in my new life.

I now have three teenage grandchildren and two who are not yet that old. I’m only allowed to see two of the five total grandkids. One of my sons does not speak to me even or have contact with his children and the other told me that he will tell his child that his father “died”. I said to him, “So you’re going to lie to your own child?” And his response was “Yes.” This came from a man who claims he is a “Christian” and who claims he “follows Christ”. The other son also uses religious arguments for cutting me off. You can see right here that I have all the evidence, right in my own family, about why I reject Christianity and what it represents in 2017 America.

But my daughter is a wonder, an amazing woman and human being, and she includes me as much as she can. Friday evening, we celebrated my grandson’s 13th birthday together and I was thankful for that. Each year I want to reiterate that I give thanks for my daughter, her husband, and her children, and the chance to include them in my life.

I spent this Christmas with a dear friend and her family. It was wonderful to be somewhere I knew I was wanted rather than just tolerated, as my family, excepting my daughter, have done to me for years now. This was different, and enjoyable.

The year 2016 was personally mostly good for me, though it was very problematic for the trans community specifically and showed emerging threats to LGBT people generally. I don’t want to talk about those except to urge people to remain vigilant, to contact your representatives at the state and federal level, and ensure they know that you do not support hate and bigotry as law. Speak out, be visible, and be heard.

To each of my friends, I hope your 2017 is wonderful and full of good surprises. There’s plenty to be worried about for 2017, but remember to take a breath, smell the roses when you can, and keep moving forward with your life. Let’s all work towards the best even as we prepare for the worst. Good luck and may fortune smile upon you in 2017.

P.S. My lone semi-serious political statement in this blog entry is simply this – Donald J. Trump is a thin skinned egocentric bully. So I urge the widespread adoption of “Trumple Thinskin” as his new nickname. Mockery of evil is useful in defeating it. I’ll be happy if someone someday calls him that to his face.

Why Do We Need A Church Anyway?

That thing that we all call the “church” was doomed from its inception. Frail, flawed human beings are going to fail, including in their conception and execution of the church. They are going to place themselves first, their wants, their needs, their narrow interpretations of a boundless deity who created a universe so vast we can barely comprehend the size, let alone all that is within it.

And you know, now that I think about it, Jesus didn’t preach creating churches, planting church seeds, none of that. He didn’t demand confessions or tithes or looking down one’s nose at those less “Christian” than he was.

Instead, he taught his disciples to simply spread the good news. And he said where two or more are gathered in my name was sufficient. It didn’t need a building, an organization, a tax break, an organ, a choir, hymnals… none of that. No megachurch, no TV stations, no fake games by the power mad.

And speaking of those power hungry, where I see those things, I see too often people, very often usually men, who seek nothing but power and dominance over others, as well as fame and fortune. Creflo Dollar, anyone? Pat Robertson? Jim Baker? How many people must these con men fleece before your heart awakens to the truth.

What truth? Jesus never needed those men. Neither do you.

Christianity, as religion, is as much a sham as the Old Testament rules were – rules that God gave Israel not because he wanted to but to show Israel that rules alone are never enough.

Maybe Jesus gave us the church to teach us the same thing – that we need to grow up, look past rules, look past the church, and learn to just love. Maybe it’s time to be the adults that Christ and so many other religious leaders have told us to be, to be kind to one another, to cherish one another, to lift up one another.

Because in far too short a time, we will all return to the stardust from which we came. And all that will be left are memories. If you live a life of rigidity, coldness, cruelty, all in the name of some hellfire breathing thunder god from Mt. Ararat, just what sort of memory will you leave? Not one that people will hold to, or cherish, I can guarantee you that.